Australian cycling star Richie Porte has won at Willunga for the fourth-straight year to confirm his first Tour Down Under title hopes.
The BMC team leader shredded his rivals with an attack well over a kilometre from the summit finish at Willunga in stage five. He finished 20 seconds clear of compatriot Nathan Haas (Dimension Data), with Colombian Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) third.
Porte leads Chaves by 48 seconds before Sunday’s last stage in Adelaide. The Tasmanian took the race lead with another devastating attack at Paracombe in the Adelaide Hills on Wednesday to win stage two.
Porte, racing for the first time since he crashed out of the Rio Olympics road race five months ago, said the Tour was his first goal of the year. He had been runner-up for the past two years.
Porte’s major aim is a podium finish in July at the Tour de France, after last year’s fifth placing. “I tell you what, that hurt more than the other three I’ve won up here,” Porte said.
“It was incredible teamwork today. This is not an easy climb – to win it is great for morale. For me, the biggest goal this year is July, the Tour de France, and things are going well.”
A four-rider break featuring Australian Will Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) formed early in Saturday’s 152km stage in perfect summer conditions south of Adelaide.
At 129km, the race went over the top of Willunga Hill for the first of two finishing laps. The remnants of the break were caught well before the last 3.5km climb to the finish.
Well before the start of the climb, Spaniard Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar) had lost touch with the leaders, costing him second place overall. Izaguirre suffered road rash when he crashed near the end of stage three.